Press Release
April 22, 2016

Villar marks Earth Day at threatened critical habitat

Sen. Cynthia Villar partnered with different organizations to celebrate Earth Day at one of the world's most important wetlands.

Villar and Villar SIPAG (Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance) partnered with the Department on Environment and Natural Resources- National Capital Region, Alliance for Stewardship and Authentic Progress (ASAP), Cavitex Advocates for the Restoration of the Environment (CARE), Save Freedom Island Movement, Philippine Red Cross- Las Pinas Chapter, and Maynilad to conduct coastal clean-up at the Las Pinas-Paranaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA).

"Joining more than 193 nations across the globe, we are once again showing our commitment to the protection of the only planet we have, our only home and the home of the future generation," Villar, director of Villar SIPAG, said.

Earth Day also coincided with the 9th anniversary of the declaration of LPPCHEA as a critical area by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 1412 on April 22, 2007.

LPPCHEA is the first critical habitat to be declared in the country. Covering around 175 hectares of wetland ecosystem, LPPCHEA consists of two islands--Freedom Island and Long Island.

"It is timely to underscore the importance of LPPCHEA in the face of threats brought about by poor waste management, land reclamation and mangrove cutting," Villar said.

The clean-up was participated in by about 700 people coming from DENR NCR, Department of Tourism- NCR, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, ASAP, CARE, Save Freedom Island Movement, Philippine Red Cross -Las Piñas Subchapter, Maynilad, PNP Maritime Group, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Coast Guard - Auxiliary - Bureau of Fire Protection - Fire District III, Archdiocese of Manila, Ministry of Ecology, Society for the Conservation of Wetlands Philippines, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, United Methodist Church, Save Philippine Seas, NILAD, Miss Earth Foundation / Carousel Production, Mother Earth Foundation, Colegio de San Juan de Letran, University of Santo Tomas, EARTH-UST and Barangay, Homeowners Association in Las Piñas City and San Sebastian College Recoletos thru Father Rene Paglinawan.

A collective hand tree painting and nature exposure walk were also among the activities lined up for the day.

LPPCHEA's mangrove forest is the thickest and most diverse within Manila Bay. There are at present 11 mangrove species growing in the area.

It is also home and known breeding area of the Philippine Ducks, a vulnerable specie as listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Chinese Egret, Common Greenshank, and Black-Winged Stilts can also be found here along with 82 other wild bird species coming from as far as China, Japan and Siberia. On March 15, 2013 LPPCHEA was recognized as a wetland of international importance by the Ramsar Convention because of the critical role it plays in the survival of threatened, restricted-range and congregatory bird species.

This year's Earth Day celebration is themed Trees for the Earth, or a plan to plant 7.8 billion trees by 2020 in time for the Earth Day's 50th Anniversary.

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